Are Trucks Carrying Empty Loads Dangerous?

February 24th, 2016

If you’re driving by an 18-wheeler carrying a full load, you might be safer than if you’re passing a big rig with an empty trailer.

Truck4According to a recent study in Australia, researchers found that trucks with empty trailers pose a risk of a rollover crash due to handling problems related to “trailer sway.” Furthermore, truck drivers are relatively inexperienced in handling a big rig with an empty trailer, according to researchers.

Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre in Western Australia released the findings, according to a report in While the research was conducted down under, our attorneys in Bucks County and Philadelphia hope trucking companies across the United States consider the findings and look for ways to avoid accidents involving tractor-trailers with empty loads.

It’s critical for truck drivers and their employers to put safety first – always. As experienced attorneys who have handled truck accidents, we know that collisions between small cars and heavy commercial vehicles are among the most serious road crashes. Occupants of the smaller cars often are seriously injured or die as a result of the impact. A fully loaded trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Big rigs, even when they’re unloaded, weigh on average about 30,000 pounds.  Regardless of whether the truck is loaded or empty, the forces involved in a crash with a small, 4,000 pound vehicle are significant, and the smaller vehicle will bear the brunt of the damage.

Truck Drivers Must Be Trained to Operate Unloaded Tractor-Trailers

Trucking companies should ensure their drivers are fully trained to safely operate their vehicles. Drivers should understand how the truck will react on the road, whether they’re transporting a full load or the trailer is empty.

On windy days, a truck with an empty trailer is more susceptible to tipping than a truck carrying a load. Depending on the weather conditions, a driver may need to stop operating the truck until it’s safe to get back on the road. Truck drivers need to be even more cautious during the winter season, especially when the roads are blanketed in snow, or covered in ice.

As a driver of a passenger vehicle who may be trying to get to work or to the grocery store, you probably have no idea whether the semi-truck sharing the road is empty or has a full load.

But if you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, you will need an aggressive attorney who will conduct a thorough investigation. At Flager & Associates, we have the experience and resources to get the results clients need. We may find the truck driver was operating an unloaded truck but lacked the experience to handle the rig under such conditions. Or, we may discover the trailer was loaded, but the driver was fatigued and perhaps violated the Hours of Service rules.

Whatever the cause of your accident, you can rely on us to uncover the facts and hold the negligent driver and trucking company accountable. We will put your needs first and fight aggressively to recover the compensation you need after a truck accident. Call us today at 215-953-5200 for a free consultation.

Contact Flager & Associates, PC

Located in Bensalem (across from the Neshaminy Mall), with offices in Philadelphia and New Hope, our law firm proudly serves injury victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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One Northbrook Corporate Center
1210 Northbrook Drive
Ste. 280
Feasterville-Trevose, PA 19053

Phone: (215) 953-5200
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1500 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Phone: (215) 953-5200

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